Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Creator of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge honored

January 26, 2011, 8:18 am

Dr. Robert Krear was one of the speakers for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Dr. Krear was invited to the headquarters of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service near Washington, D.C., the week of Jan. 17-21 to speak at the anniversary ceremony.

In Washington, he was reunited with Dr. George Schaller. Along with Krear, they are the only surviving members of the famous Murie Arctic expedition. The two were among the featured speakers at this symposium involving numerous Alaskan biologists, refuge managers and other members of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Among the other speakers was former president Jimmy Carter.

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in the United States. It is an area of great natural beauty that has been called the Serengeti of North America because of the wildlife populations that exist there. Dr. Krear considers his participation in the creation of the Arctic refuge the greatest contribution of his life.

It all began in 1956, when Dr. Krear, a local retired biology professor and scientist, received a phone call from Dr. Olaus Murie of Jackson Hole, Wyo., who invited him to join Murie's expedition to the northeast corner of Arctic Alaska for the purpose of assisting in ecological studies during exploration of that primitive area. It had been determined by the nation's top environmentalists following World War II that that area of Alaska was the last pristine Arctic wilderness area remaining on the entire planet. There was an urgent necessity to preserve it from commercialization.